tv MSNBC Live MSNBC December 8, 2011 11:00am-12:00pm EST
romney away sealing the lead in a new round of battleground state polls but what is stunning is his head-to-head matchups with president obama. jerry sandusky back in the slammer, the former penn state coach accused of raping boys waits to see if his lawyers can make bail after the late's rest. and former syracuse boech barry fine facing a new lawsuit. a live news conference is coming up any moment from now. a lot to take place this hour. hi, everybody, i'm thomas roberts. we begin this hour with newt gingrich speaking live in south carolina proving he's more than just the gop flavor of the month, and the timing couldn't be better, just weeks away from the iowa caucuses, and new numbers show he's not just strong against romney, but strong against president obama as well. from ohio we see gingrich in a dead heat with the president, then in florida where gingrich is killing romney in the polls he's also in a statistical dead heat with the president. but the white house can take heart in the keystone state.
obama is way out in front of the former house speaker in pennsylvania. meanwhile, mitt romney is launching an all-out offensive against the current front-runner, he held a conference call this morning with surrogates who work with gingrich back during his time on capitol him. wendy hiller is an associate professor of political science at brown university and richard wolf is an msnbc analyst. what should the white house as well as romney's team make of the new numbers in the fact that newt is solid and strongly in the lead? >> the white house is sitting back enjoying the show. they had so much material on newt gingrich, they think he's such a bad match in the general election they really want to see this train wreck happen so that's their strategy, they're playing around at the edges but they're really still focused on trying to look at the bigger threat, which is mitt romney. they think romney speaks to the independents that they did so well with in 2008 and lost since then, so that's where they're still focusing the train of
their fire but the head-to-heads right now the gingrich who hasn't really been tested by the rest of the republican field of the white house, not sure they're really that concerned about them inside the white house. >> wendy the gingrich possibility could become the real reality as we're watching around the country as people start to pay attention as this thing firms up and a new cnn/"time" poll shows gingrich with strong leads in iowa, florida and romney has chris christie in the iowa forum. is it too late to put surrogates like that in places like iowa? >> i think he has to show he can fight. the republicans changed the nominating rules so we have delegates awarded by proportional representation which is a huge change. it extends the contest for a lot longer so romney is not out of it. newt gingrich can't seal it up as early as prior republican nominations, but romney has to show he can fight. republican voters want to see a guy who is going to take on
obama strong. that's what gingrich has been able to do in the debates without pushback. its it's not just about eroding newt gingrich's lead right now. it's about sthoeg gop voters for the long hall and the general election that he's prepared to fight as hard as can he. i would caution the white house to be careful what they wish for. you can't say oh this guy would be much better as a big target. you don't know how voter also reassess newt gingrich as we move along in campaign season. >> you can't underestimate anything in this climate. the republicans on the hill do, ro endorse romney. >> for a guy who has been in ush with a wash for four in washing for four decades, the more the establishment attacks gingrich the less establishment he looks. so to the extent that he speaks not just to the values of the tea party, conservative base of the republican party, these
attacks also add to the impression somehow he's an iconoclast, anti-conventional and people are afraid of him. what they're speaking to is not a fear of his ideas, it's his management style, but so he can play into the idea that he's a reforming character, when in fact what we're talking about is their experience of working with him. >> wendy there, is a line of thinking newt could be to romney what president clinton was owe bo bobama. >> if he manages to do a really good job outwitting and knocking out gingrich in key areas, that's what hillary did was make obama fight harder and really show his stripes and appeal to every element of the democratic base, so i think that romney has got to try to do that and do it now in every way, shape and form, so yes, whoever emerges from a battle, we've learned
things change in politics is emerging stronger with turnout, voter registration and mobilization and where newt needs help is money, he's lacking in money and if anything trips him up i think it's the lack of fund-raising. the surge in the polls i think will hinder newt over the long haul. >> great to see both of you this morning, thank you. attorney general eric holder is on capitol hill today to answer questions about the controversial gun smuggling program known as fast and furious. fast and furious put weapons in the hands of so-called straw purchasers who in turn sold those weapons to smugglers south of the mexican border. while holder admits the program was a bad one, some republicans say the attorney general is to blame. >> mr. attorney general, the blame must go to your desk, and you must today take the real responsibility. >> it is unfortunate that some have used inflammatory and inappropriate rhetoric about one
particular tragedy that occurred near the southwest border in an effort to score political points. >> nbc news justice correspo correspondent pete williams joins us with more on this. pete, the main question for the attorney general today is going to be what? >> i think it's going to be exactly who was responsible for this operation, but i suppose the attorney general won't be able to answer that question in the detail that the committee republicans would like because he says there's an inspector general investigation going on, one that he himself asked the inspector general to do so he says he can't give all the answers but it's clear from that piece of sound that you played that the attorney general is to sox extend changing his tactics and pushing back toward the house republicans saying they're turning this into something merely to score political points. he said that this can't become political side show or a series of media opportunities that everybody has to rise above the political gotcha games.
you heard from darrell issa from california who believes the department isn't giving all the answer it is could. representative james sensenbrenner in the house says if congress doesn't get the answer it wants the only answer for congress is impeachment, although he didn't say which official he was talking about impeaching. >> pete, so we've got these calls from congressmen calling for holder to resign. what are the chances to are that or the drumbeat getting louder that that would become something that might happen? >> the main calls for resignation for firing of the head of the criminal division, lanny brewer. grassley says he should be fired, sensenbrenner and so did darrell issa today. candidly that's not the attorney general's decision. these are political appointees by the president. the odds that attorney general holder are going to resign are nil. >> pete williams, nice to see you this morning. >> you bet. jon corzine will be under
the microscope for his time as ceo of bankrupt brokerage firm mf global which misplaced up to $1.2 billion of investor money. corzine expected to tell a house panel he has no idea where the money is and will apologize for what happened. corzine arrived at the capital, the first former senator to be subpoenaed by congress in 103 years. we want to move on to developing news out of allegheny county, pennsylvania, where a civil lawsuit is being levelled against former syracuse university assistant basketball coach bernie fine. the accuser in that suit is zach tomaselli who claims fine sexually abused him during a 2 thoou 2 road trip to pittsburgh. tomaselli was 13 at the time and the sole complainant. the former penn state football coach jerry sandusky spent the night behind bars after being arrested on new
allegations of sexual abuse. this morning an attorney for three of his accusers say future justice is their priority. >> you know the bigger picture there is taking steps to hold anybody accountable in addition to sandusky and so this is prevented and never happens again. >> michael isikof is in state college, pennsylvania. bring us up to date with the latest arrest. >> reporter: he was rearrested without warning yesterday and being held, spent his first night in jail last night, waiting to see whether he'll raise that $250,000 cash bail to get out today as his attorney was trying to do, but people focusing on those charges, two new victims who have come forward since the original charges were filed last month, one of those victims, victim number nine may be the most
shocking yet, he describes being taken by jerry sandusky, spending the night repeatedly in the basement of his home, being told to stay down there, sandusky brings him his food, not to leave unless otherwise directed and then being sexually assault there had on repeated occasions at one point even cries out, hoping that sandusky's wife will hear him screaming for help and nobody comes to help. why it's particularly significant, thomas, these accusations take place about events in 2005, 2006, that's three years after that 2002 incident in which penn state officials were warned about and were told about sandusky sexually molesting a child at the penn state locker room. this is going to reinforce the question that came up originally, why didn't penn state officials act on that initial allegation if they had, then perhaps victim number nine
would never have been abused like this. >> nbc's mike. isikoff, thank you so much. we move on to our next guest an experienced litigator in child sexual abuse case including the bishop eddie long case in georgia, former prosecutor and assistant d.a., b.j. bernstein. thanks for being here. a tough topic with the new charges and how graphic it is potentially the wife of sandusky aerd has child in the basement. >> tough to hear about this with sandusky's arrest sitting in the jail we saw behind ikele isikoff if we can see if his lawyer can come up with the cash to get him released. why would a potentially active pedophile be given bail? >> well, you know, every case, i mean we do have the presumption of innocence and the one thing
that controls sometimes with these cases where they were older allegations is a sense of you've got the proof issues get more difficult the longer a victim waits. these victims are being protected by the mass of them together. generally speaking if it's an older allegation, bonds tend to be a little bit lower and i think different from the last bond at least for protection of victims in the community, there is the home confinement aspect, so that this whole thing before where he was walking around town and a victim could go to the grocery store and run into their abuser won't happen this time. >> when we talk about these accusations against jerry sandusky, dating back decades, now that more people are coming forward, obviously a lot of people have read the original grand jury report that was returned. how much harder is it for the defense to properly defend jerry sandusky with the latest round of allegations that seem to
match up to a lot of the things reported earlier? >> i'm assuming sandusky's attorney is going to say they read the previous indictment and embellished versus what's interesting to me about this indictment that helps give credibility to these two is their willingness to explain more and in more detail the events that happened. it's almost like the first accusers reached that hurdle of, and i found this when i was and still do with young people or even adults who have been abused they initially tell about the softer things, the touching, kissing, the rubbing, things of that sort, and only with a little time will they really connect to the more graphic abuse, the more serious charges that are coming from these two victims that includes being sodomized. >> b.j. i'm being told in my ear right now sandusky has made that bail just within moments of this
interview. his attorney showing up to post the $250,000 in cash to get jerry sandusky released. when we know this hearing is coming up next week, that they're going to be having the first hearing to bring him back in and to appear before a judge, does that mean they'll only be talking about the first 40 charges leveled against him or going to bring in the new charges lefd against him since last night in this new arrest? >> it will probably be the first 40 because you have notice issues and timing issue, only if the defense would waive the proper timing to be prepared for the preliminary hearing. it may be there are two preliminary hearings coming in the case and the one next week i'm going to be joining you. >> excellent. we love being able to have access to you because there is so much going on. we did tell everybody we are expecting this live press conference coming up this hour about bernie fine and his alleged accuser filing a civil suit against him. when we hear about that, because this is all on the heels of the fact that the district attorney
said that they aren't going to bring criminal charges. we got that information yesterday. is civil the next best road to take? b.j., can you hear me? >> all righty. yes, i can hear you, sorry, someone interrupted. the civil charges is the only thing that they can do, and it makes sense. again, because it's for full public airing so that the world is on notice to be away from him. it's important for the full closure of the victims. it's not like he popped up, this victim because of penn state. he did it years ago in his espn interview over eight years ago that was held, so a proper airing and again, it's a lesson for all of us of where we need to change the laws, and where we need to pay attention to victims. >> as these cases move forward in more detail we look forward to having you back. b.j. bernstein, appreciate it. we want to move on to breaking news concerning president obama, going to be making a statement coming up at
11:30 eastern on the nomination of richard cordray, republicans are blocking his nomination to head the consumer bureau. state republicans rejected the nomination arguing substantive changes to the bureau need to be made before a single administrator heads that agency. we're going to have live coverage of the president's comments coming up at 11:30 right here. the obama administration's shocking decision on the so-called morning after pill, a lot of women's health advocates say this has more to do with politics than just science. we'll talk about that. plus the naacp's fight against what it calls a coordinated and comprehensive assault on black and latino voters in this country. i'm going to talk with renowned civil rights leader and naacp chairman julian bond. that's coming up and a whole lot more on msnbc. [ male announcer ] an lg smart tv, lg optimus cell phone
and...an apology card. this is ridiculous. yeah, and it's got apps. nice. it's got vudu, twitter, facebook. no honey, not facebook. ♪ honey, you think my sweater's horrendous? cats don't skate. i think it kicks butt. [ male announcer ] get low prices on the gifts they love, like lg tvs with the latest technology. backed by our christmas price guarantee. save money. live better. walmart. [ man ] we've been in the business over the course of four centuries. [ woman ] it was a family business back then, and it still feels like a family business now.
the only people who knew about us were those in new england, that moment that we got our first web order... ♪ ...we could tell we were on the verge of something magical. all of a sudden it just felt like things were changing. we can use this to advertise to bakers everywhere. [ man ] browns summit, north carolina. crescent city, california. we had a package go to kathmandu once. the web has been the reason this entire section of the warehouse exists today. we were becoming more than this little flour company in vermont. [ woman ] we're all going after one common goal, which is to spread the joy of baking throughout the whole world. ♪ ♪ ♪
how are you giving an improved way of voting. >> that was the reverend al sharpton, with over a dozen states enacting or proposing laws requiring photo i.d. the naacp is fighting back with a major campaign to make sure minorities and the young are not being shut out of voters come november. joining us is julian bond. mr. bond, nice to have you on with us this morning. thanks for your time. >> my pleasure. >> as founder of the student nonviolent coordinating committee, otherwise known as
sncc, you are op. nt front lines of the struggle to win african americans the right to vote. what are the parallels between what happened back in the '60s and now 50 years later what we're seeing today? >> the parallels are that in 1960s a political party, largely southern democrats were allied against the right of black people to vote, they connived and done all sorts of things to keep black people from voting. lyndon johnson pushed through the voting rights law, the 1965 law cleared away all the barriers and the democrats who had been hostile to black voting migrated to the republican party and from the early 1960s until today the republicans have been more often than not on the part of restricting voting rights for african americans and other americans to reduce the size of the electorate so their candidates will win. >> at their core, sir, are these laws racist or more complicated,
more political than just easing it off on that? >> it's more complicated than that. they are racest in accident and aimed at vulnerable people in our population, at young people not likely to have a voter i.d., of ac african-american who are not likely to have voter i.d. or one who has the papers to prove he or she is who they are. this is a remedy without a disease. the only example i know of voter suppression came the day before yesterday in a court in maryland when a republican operative was convicted of trying to suppress black voters in the gubernatorial election in that state, so this is the only example i know of, and in a case after case after case and state after state, when asked to demonstrate examples of this, they can come up with not a single one. >> as the reverend likes to say, this is a solution for a
non-problem. >> exactly so. >> seeing a solution for a problem that doesn't exist. years ago you pointed out there are two nations within the african-american population, the haves and the have nots. when you look at the voter i.d. battle do you see it as a case of conservative lawmakers, politicizing that divide? >> they're taking the example of the disparities in african-american populations, large percentage of young african americans have no voter identification. if you're my age, i'm 71 years old, if you're born in segregation, you might not have a birth certificate so you might not be able to prove who you are, even though everybody knows you, you've lived and voted in your community for decades and decades, so this is taking on example of auto nomlies in the american popation. the attempt is to squeeze the voting population down so their candidates can win and candidates opposed to them will lose. >> i want to touch briefly on
another issue on your radar. you gave a speech this summer for the naacp talking about the recent organized task force at the naacp to look at the lgbt issues for those americans. six months later what do you think you've learned so far in that study? >> we've learned it's difficult to be gay or lesbian in america, if we didn't know that already, and august sellments of the population ought to be on alert against the form done when any segment of our population is marginalized and put aside. we are all thankful for the dynamic speech that secretary of state hillary clinton made just a couple of days ago in stating gay and lesbian rights are civil rights, they are equal rights. there are no such thing as special rights in america, all americans have these rights and all americans need to have these rights defended. >> naacp chairman julian bond, sir, it's been great to have you on for us today.
we appreciate your time. thank you. >> my pleasure. >> be sure to watch our special series "block the vote: an investigation of new voting laws around this country" airing this week on "politician nation" 6:00 p.m. eastern here on msnbc. we are awaiting a statement from president obama who plans to call republicans on the carpet for blocking his nominee to head the consumer protection agency. that statement happening just moments from now, a live report from the white house coming up, live coverage of the president's comments right here on msnbc. we know a place where tossing and turning have given way to sleeping. where sleepless nights yield to restful sleep. and lunesta can help you get there, like it has for so many people before. when taking lunesta, don't drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake. walking, eating, driving, or engaging in other activities while asleep, without remembering it the next day, have been reported. abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, agitation,
hallucinations or confusion. in depressed patients, worsening of depression, including risk of suicide, may occur. alcohol may increase these risks. allergic reactions, such as tongue or throat swelling, occur rarely and may be fatal. side effects may include unpleasant taste, headache, dizziness and morning drowsiness. ask your doctor if lunesta is right for you. then get lunesta for $0 at lunesta.com. there's a land of restful sleep. we can help you go there on the wings of lunesta.
helps defends against occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating. with three strains of good bacteria to help balance your colon. you had me at "probiotic." [ female announcer ] phillips' colon health. ♪ and just let me be [ male announcer ] this is your moment. ♪ your ticket home [ male announcer ] this is zales, the diamond store. take an extra 10 percent off storewide now through sunday. take an extra 10 percent off you want to save money on car insurance? no problem. you want to save money on rv insurance? no problem. you want to save money on motorcycle insurance? no problem. you want to find a place to park all these things? fuggedaboud it. this is new york. hey little guy, wake up! aw, come off it mate! geico.
saving people money on more than just car insurance. [ male announcer ] indulge all you want. now there's no need to hold back. ♪ new revolutionary scope with dualblast technology obliterates strong food odors and kills bad breath germs leaving your breath minty fresh. hey. sorry i'm late, baby. i bet you're starving. [ male announcer ] so there's no trace of evidence... hey, i thought i did the dishes. [ male announcer ] blast away strong food odors and bad breath germs with new scope dualblast. also, try crest complete extra white with scope dualblast. welcome back, everybody. breaking news out of the wloof house right now, president obama expected in the briefing room, making a at the same time about richard cordray's nomination to head the consumer financial protection bureau. senate republicans just blocked that nomination. nbc's mike viqueira is at the white house. why are they opposed to seeing
card cordray step? ? >> reporter: first of all this was created under the dodd-frank legislation, after the financial collapse of 2008. republicans have opposed it ever since then, saying it is overly restrictive as the legislation in general. in particular they opposed the creation of this consumer financial protection bureau and the way it's structured. what they're insisting on in the senate and the reason why most republicans with two proment nent exceptions voted against moving on to this debate on the confirmation of richard cordray, of course the former attorney general of ohio, now the bureau but they want to elevate him to the top post here but republicans say the structure needs to have tighter oversight by congress, can't be automatically funded through the federal reserve, needs to go through the normal appropriations process, they're basically opposed to the tight restrictions and we've seen the dodd-frank legislation come under attack on the republican campaign trail from newt gingrich, mitt romney, and others. the vote 53-45, one interesting
note here, scott brown of mass mass joining lisa murkowski of alaska as the ohm two republicans to vote in favor of moving ahead with this debate. they needed 60 votes and fell seven short. scott brown is expected to face elizabeth warren who ran the cfpb while it was being formulated, pretty y much worked to create it, that was the favorite of many consumer groups and democratic base core political organizations to head the organization president obama decided she couldn't be confirmed, moved on to the number two there, cordray, and now he's running into problems as well. we're going to see the president here. we did not expect this. they announced this as you know in the last few minutes. there was to be a briefing at 11:30. this plays into the larger political narrative as well of course with occupy wall street protests around the country, this is something that they are very concerned about, and the president is going to, we can of course expect him to hammer republicans for voting against
going to a vote, confirming this nomination, i should say, more clearly today when we see him in just a few minutes in the briefing room. >> mike you make a great point about elizabeth warren moving on to politically to run against scott brown in massachusetts. poll numbers show she's leading in the polls in massachusetts. explain why people in washington, d.c., were so against elizabeth warren who you pointed out pretty much created this bureau, they didn't want to see her oversee it. >> reporter: for largely the same reasons, ideological, economic, you name it, in terms of economic policy, republicans feel the dodd-frank legislation that created this agency to begin with is overly restricted, promotes regulation, hamstrings businesses large and small as the economy continues to struggle, this is something obviously part of the republican brand, and on the other side of course we've seen democrats embrace the opposite attitude and the president of course doubling down now on the rights
of private citizens over those of corporate interests in the speech he made tuesday in kansas echoing something theodore roosevelt said in the same location so a theme emerging here you really can't separate the politics and policy at this point, thomas. nobody expected this cordray nomination to go through. it would have required 60 votes for them to go to a vote to confirm this nomination. they didn't get there, as i said, 53 votes. it was expected to go down a part of this is sort of a set piece, part of the political process and part of frankly the ongoing gridlock in washington. >> the consumer financial protection bureau again that was put together by elizabeth warren, she has moved on. richard cordray being blocked from the nomination to head it. how does it operate currently present day in washington, d.c.? >> it can do some things with regard to credit cards and consumer rights with regard to dealing with their credit card companies and the banks that
oversee them. it cannot oversee some other things, for example payday lending which we've seen in the news a lot. the possibility now of a recess appointment by the president to head this agency. >> we're going to wait for the. to the take the podium there, mike viqueira at the white house, thanks. we'll get in other news quickly. two separate men in two separate political battle s on capitol hill, eric holder, many calling only him to resign and former new jersey governor and senator jon corzine will try to explain to a house committee how $1.2 million vanished thin air from brokerage firm mf global. eamon javers joins me from the corzine hearing. what are we expecting to hear from the former senator? >> reporter: he's going to say i apologize in his prepared testimony he's released early today. he does say he apologizes. he was responsible for the trades that got the firm into so much trouble but also going to say that he was stunned to find out that some of the customer
money was missing. that is something that just should not happen at a firm like mf global. it did happen, that's the crux of the problem up to about $1.2 billion in customer money is missing and corzine is going to tell the house agricultural committee later this morning that he has no idea where that money is so a dramatic and risky move here for mr. corzine, a lot of washington insiders expected him to take the fifth, not testify because he could potentially be exposing himself to huge legal jeopardy. instead, corzine going the riskier route, going to have about a 21-page statement today, thomas, he is going to talk and going to talk at length. back to you. >> cnbc's eamon javers, appreciate it. president obama's administration under pfeifffire what some women's health groups call a political employ. kathleen sebelius stopped the plan in action saying young
girls who just reached reproduct age are not mature enough to have free access to that pill. it will stay behind counters and anyone under age 17 would need a prescription to get it. >> the secretary's statement nicely as it's written is just really a cover for what i believe was a political decision. >> the obama administration denials the decision was in any way politically motivated. the clock ticking on capitol hill with both sides of the aisle trying to come up with the payroll tax cut solution that will extend into 2012 president obama already set to cancel his holiday in hawaii to get that deal done, already met with house democratic leadership this morning to discuss the way forward. this morning house republicans announced their own bill to extend the payroll tax cuts. speaker boehner said their bill is fully paid for and will not impact the social security trust fund. we're back with much more after this. [ male announcer ] tom's discovering that living healthy can be fun.
[ coughing continues ] [ female announcer ] more pollution from power plants means more childhood asthma attacks. [ labored breathing ] there's technology that makes the air cleaner, but too many plants don't use it. we can't wait. epa must update power plant standards to protect our kids. [ baby coughing ] welcome back, everybody.
we are following breaking news that president bhee is expected in the briefing room to talk about the fact that richard cordray, the person he wanted to head the nomination of the consumer financial protection bureau has been blocked from the right. the president is expected to come out, we were given the two-minute warning just molts ago but senate republicans blocked this nomination. you'll also recall that elizabeth warren who pretty much helmed the creation of the consumer financial protection bureau was the first nominee, also blocked from the right. she's gone on to massachusetts where elizabeth warren is taking on senator scott brown in the massachusetts senate race coming up next year, she's leading right now in current polls if i believe the numbers correctly, elizabeth warren is leading scott brown 49% to 42% so a considerable lead as we look at the poll numbers there. we have matt lewis standing by, contributor news to "the daily call ir. "as mike viqueira was reporting, it wasn't expected that he was going to sail through but what does it mean as the agency sits
idoly by in washington, d.c., waiting for somebody to head it? >> look, i think this is just part of democracy. this is the sausage making as they say that people really don't like to see. so i don't think this is a surprise at all. i think republicans are in the minority in the senate, but they still exercise power in the senate of course. the minority has additional power. the thing to watch here i think the key to watch is president obama's speech because i think this is going to be tied into his entire campaign argument which is running as harry truman did against a do nothing congress, he'll try to portray the republicans as obstructionists. let's see if it works but i think that's the game plan. >> matt, let's listen in. here's president obama now. >> -- i said that we are in a make or break moment when it comes to america's middle class. we either have a country where everybody depends for themselves
or we create a country where everybody does their fair share, everybody's got a fair chance, and we ensure that there's fair play out there. to ensure fair play, one of the things that i talked about was the importance of making sure we implement financial reform, wall street reform that was passed last year and a key component of that was making sure we have a consumer watch dog in place who can police what mortgage brokers and payday lenders and other non-bank financial entities are able to do when it comes to consumers. this is a big deal, about one in five people use these kinds of mechanisms to finance everything from buying a house to cashing their checks, and we passed a law last year that said we need this consumer wash dog in place
to make sure that people aren't taking advantage of it. now, we have nominated somebody, richard cordray, former attorney general and treasurer of ohio, who everybody says is highly qualified. the majority of attorney generals, republican and democrat from across the country, have said this is somebody who can do the job with integrity, who has a tradition of being a bipartisan individual who looks out for the public interest, and is ready to go, and he actually helped set up the consumer finance protection board. this morning, senator republicans blocked his nomination refusing to let the senate even go forward with an up or down vote on mr. cordray. this makes absolutely no sense. consumers across the country understand that part of the reason we got into the financial mess that we did was because
regulators were not doing their jobs. people were not paying attention to what was happening in the housing market, people weren't paying attention to who was being taken advantage of. there were folks who were making a lot of money taking advantage of american consumers. this individual's job is to make sure that individual consumers are protected. everybody from seniors to young people are looking for student loans to members of our armed services who are probably more vulnerable than just about anybody when it comes to unscrupulous financial practices. there is no reason why mr. cordray should not be nominated, and should not be confirmed by the senate and should not be doing his job right away in order to carry out his mandate and his mission. so i just want to send a message to the senate. we are not giving up on this. we are going to keep on going at it. we are not going to allow
politics as usual on capitol hill to stand in the way of american consumers being protected by unscrupulous financial operators. and we're going to keep on pushing on this issue. now, the second thing i want to make clear about is with respect to the payroll tax, you guys have all seen our countdown clock behind us. this is about do iing making su everybody is doing their fair share and the middle class does not see their taxes go up by $1,000 in 23 days, and we've heard recently some intimations from the senate majority leader and from the speaker of the house or the senate minority leader and the speaker of the house that they think we should do a payroll tax but the question is what price will they extract from the president in order to get it done. and i just want to make clear,
this is not about me. they shouldn't extend the payroll tax cut for me. they shouldn't extend unemployment insurance for me. this is for 160 million people who in 23 days are going to see their taxes go up if congress doesn't act. this is for 5 million individuals who are out there looking for a job and can't find a job right now in a tough economy who could end up not being able to pay their bills or keep their house if congress doesn't act. so rather than trying to figure out what can they extract politically from me in order to get this thing done, what they need to be focused is on what is good for the economy, what is good for jobs and the american people and i made very clear i do not expect congress to go home unless the payroll tax cut is extended and unless unemployment insurance is
extended. it would be wrong for families, but it would also be wrong for the economy as a whole. with that i'm going to take a couple of questions. >> reporter: thank you, mr. president. it's a very busy time. i'd like to ask you about two other important issueness in the news, republican candidates have taken aim at your approach to foreign policy particularly the middle east and israel and accused you of appeasement. i wanted to get your reaction to that and also i'm wondering if you personally intervened in any way in halting the sale of the morning after pill to those under 17, and whether you think politics trumps science in this case. >> ask osama bin laden and the 22 out of 30 top al qaeda leaders who have been taken off the field whether i engage in appeasement. or whoever is left out there, ask them about that.
expect to the plan b, i did not get involved in the process. this was a decision made by kathleen sebelius, the secretary of hhs. i will say this as the father of two daughters. i think it is important for us to make sure that we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine, and as i understand it, the reason kathleen made this decision was she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going to a drugstore should be able alongside bubble gum or batteries, be able to buy a
medication that potentially if not used properly could end up having an adverse effect, and i think most parent would probably feel the same way. so you know, the expectation here is i think it's very important to understand that for women, for those over 17, this continues to be something that you can go in and purchase from a drugstore. it has been deemed safe by the fda. nobody's challenging that. when it comes to 12-year-olds or 13-year-olds, the question is, can we have confidence that they would potentially use plan b properly, and her judgment was that there was not enough evidence that this potentially could be used improperly in a way that had adverse health effects on those young people. >> do you support that decision? >> i do.
>> reporter: mr. president is recent appointment for richard cordray on the table, number one and the new italian prime minister indicated today he may be coming to the white house next month. do you think he and other european leaders are stepping up in the way you've urged them to, to sort of clear up the debt crisis? >> i will not take any options off the table when it comes to getting richard cordray in as the director of the consumer finance protection board and i repeat what i said earlier, this is a law that was passed by congress that i signed into law that is designed solely to protect american consumers. i don't think there's any consumer out there, i don't think there's any american out there who thinks that the reason we got into the big financial mess that we did was because of too much regulation of wall street or the financial services industry. i take it back, i'm sure there are folks in the financial service industry who make that argument although i'm not sure they make it with a straight
face. so let's just take a very specific example. all the families out there who have now lost their home after having paid their mortgage over and and over again because they were told that they could afford this home, they didn't understand all of the documentation that was involved, this was pedaled deliberately to them although a mortgage broker may have known there was no way they could keep up with these payments. now they are out on the street because nobody was making sure that there's fair play and fair dealing in the mortgage industry on -- now, why wouldn't we want to have somebody just to make sure that people are being treated fairly? you know, especially when not only is that family affected but our whole economy is affected. this is part of what i was talking about a couple of days
ago. we have a congress right now, republicans in congress right now, who seem to have entirely forgotten how we got into this mess. and part of the reason was because we did not empower our regulators to make sure that they were ensuring fair play. that's what the consumer finance protection board is designed to do. we had holly petraeus, wife of general petraeus working to make sure our armed services personnel aren't taken advantage of. they get transferred to a base and next thing they know, they are taking out loans that they think are a good deal but it turns out that they are paying 100, 250, 200% interest rates. why wouldn't we want somebody in place to make sure that doesn't
happen? it doesn't make any sense. so bottom line is, you asked about the recess appointment. we're going to look at all of our options. my hope and expectation is that the republicans who block this nomination come to their senses. and i know that some of them have made an argument, we just want to sort of make modifications in the law. well, they are free to introduce a bill and get that passed. but part of what's happened over on capitol hill, not just on this issue but on every issue, is they will hold up nominations, well-qualified judges aren't getting a vote. i've got assistant secretaries to the treasuries who get held up for no reason, just because they are trying to see if they can use that to reverse some
sort of law that's already been passed. and that's part of what gets the american people so frustrated because they don't feel like this thing is on the level. >> the european crisis -- >> on the european debt crisis, i am obviously very concerned about what's happening in europe. i've expressed those concerns repeatedly to president sarkozy, chancellor merkel, all of the key leaders involved. i think they now recognize the urgency of doing something serious and bold. the question is whether they can muster the political will to get it done. look, europe is wealthy enough that there's no reason why they can't solve this problem. it's not as if we're talking about some impoverished country that doesn't have any resources
and is being buffeted by the world markets and they need to come hat in hand and get help. this is europe, with some of the wealthiest countries on earth, collectively one of the largest markets on earth, if not the largest. and so if they muster the political will, they have the capacity to settle markets down, make sure that they are acting responsibly and that governments like italy are able to finance their debt. and i think that chancellor merkel was made progress with other leaders in trying to move towards a fiscal compact where everybody is playing by the same rules and nobody is acting irresponsibly. i think that's all for the good but there's a short-term crisis that has to be resolved to make
sure that markets have confidence, and that europe stands behind the euro. we're going to do everything we can to push them in a good direction on this because it has a huge impact on what happens here in the united states. they are the largest trading partner and we're seeing some positive signs in our economy. but if we see europe tank, that obviously could have a big impact on our ability to generate the jobs we need here in the united states. i'll answer one last question. kristen. >> mr. president, thank you. you just called on congress not to leave until they resolve this issue over the payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance benefits. can you say definitively that you'll postpone your own vacation until these two matters are resolved? and also on iran, sharper language from your administration about iran recently. are you intentionally trying to ramp up pressure on iran and
that no options are off the table, should we take that to mean you are considering other options? >> no options off the table means i'm considering all options. >> can you tell us specifically what those might be? >> no. but what i can say with respect to iran, especially given the political noise out there. this administration has systemically imposed the toughest sanctions on iraq -- on iran ever. when we came into office, the world was divided. iran was unified and moving aggressively on its own agenda. today iran is isolated and the world is unified in applying the toughest sanctions that iran has ever experienced and it's having an impact inside iran. that is as a consequence of the
extraordinary work that's been done by our national security team. now, iran understands that they have a choice, they can break that isolation by acting responsibly and for swearing the development of nuclear weapons, which would still allow them to pursue peaceful nuclear power like every other country that's a member of the nonproliferation treaty, or they can continue to operate in a fashion that isolates them from the entire world. and if they are pursuing nuclear weapons, then i have said very clearly that is contrary to the national security interest of the united states and contrary to the national security interests of our allies, including israel and we are going to work with the world
community to prevent that. with respect to my vacation, i would not ask anybody to do something i'm not willing to do myself. so i know some of you might have been looking forward to a little sun and sand. but the bottom line is that we are going to stay here as long as it takes to make sure that the american people's taxes don't go up on january 1st and make sure that folks that desperately need unemployment insurance get that help. and there's absolutely no excuse for us not getting it done. keep in mind on the payroll tax cut, this is something that democrats and republicans agreed to last year with little fanfare. and it was good for the economy. and independent economists estimate that for us to not
extend it right now, to not extend payroll tax cut, not extend unemployment insurance, would have a significant adverse impact on our economy, right at a time when we are supposed to be growing the economy. so you know, when i hear the speaker or the senate republican leader wanting to bicker, what can they extract from us to get this done, my response is, just do the right thing. focus on the american people. focus on the economy right now. i know the suggestion right now is that somehow, well, this keystone issue will create jobs. that's being determined by the state department right now and there is a process. but here's what i know. however many jobs